There are so many reasons why and when we eat food, but what’s the difference between mean mindful and mindlessly eating?
It’s incredibly common and on the rare occasion it isn’t a big issue. However, there are some serious consequences of eating mindlessly. It isn’t just what you are consuming, but also how you consume it!
Are You mindlessly eating?
We have all done it and in moderation it isn’t that big of a deal. However, frequent mindless eating can have some serious side effects. Mindlessly eating can look like eating when we aren’t actually hungry, distracted eating, eating without realizing, emotional eating or other external reasons.
It’s extremely common and we are all guilty of doing it occasionally. Although, when occasional turns to excessive, it can lead to all sorts of health issues. Binge-eating, weight gain and in severe cases diabetes or obesity.
What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is paying attention to the what we consume. It is eating with purpose, such as eating for energy or because you are hungry. This is an approach to eating and food consumption that focuses on the awareness and experience of food.
Eating mindfully involves observing how food makes you feel. It is in-real-time awareness of the signals your body sends regarding taste, satisfaction and fullness.
Tips for Quitting Mindlessly Eating
Everything in moderation is ok, although it doesn’t necessarily need to be a way of life. If you notice some foods affect your body, skin, mood or health conditions, it might be best you quit it all together. If you are struggling with mindless eating, here some tips for quitting.
It takes approximately 20 minutes for our bodies to realize they’re full. Slowing down allows you to savor and enjoy your food while also letting the body process how it feels. This is an excellent weight loss tip as well. Most slow eaters eat less, feel fuller and often enjoy their meals more than fast eaters.
Create a Healthy Eating Environment
If you are an avid snacker and are trying to avoid unhealthy junk food, try eliminating distractions or having roam-able cabinets. Roaming the cabinets for snacks is an efficient way to find yourself eating mindlessly. Instead, quit buying processed, snackable foods.
What you can do to create a healthy eating environment is by preparing healthy snacks ahead of time. This could be cutting up fruits or veggies and having nuts portioned out. Additionally, eat in the same place, like a kitchen or dining room table. Keep your workspace for working, your bed for sleeping and your TV room for watching TV.
Think About Where Your Food Comes From
It’s always challenging when trying to change a habit and eating is a tough habit to break. Take some time to research more about the food you have been eating regularly. Maybe you’ll find something that completely turns you off from that food.
For example, if you love fast food, simply looking up the dangers of fast, processed meats should change your entire outlook. It’s not just fast food either. In order to avoid foods with artificial additives or preservatives, shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Most foods with these unhealthy extras are often found in the middle of the grocery store.
Consider Your Feelings
Are you an emotional eater? Maybe you’re feeding your comforts. Ask yourself, am I eating because I’m hungry or because I’m sad, nervous or excited? If you are sad and find yourself reaching for the snacks, tell yourself “I’m upset, I’m not hungry”.
Look for alternatives instead of snack foods. If you’re feeling down grab a journal and jot down your thoughts. Even if you’re happy, go for a walk or listen to music instead!
Journals and diaries come in handy for all sorts of purposes. A food diary is great for those looking to lose weight or learn more about their allergies and intolerances. If you suspect a certain type of food isn’t working well with your body, keeping a journal of what you eat can help you narrow down what that food might be.
Pay Attention To Hunger Cues
A lot of us eat according to the time of day, however, this may lead us to over eating. Using internal cues or our inner clock is how you can distinguish between physical or mental hunger. Another cue that indicated mental hunger is cravings. If you crave something specific like a burger, it is an unlikely indication of real hunger.
Smaller Plates & Taller Glasses
An easy way to reduce portion size is by using smaller plates or taller glasses. Bigger plates mean bigger portions because food looks smaller on a bigger plate. Additionally, using tall, thin glasses helps reduce the amount of liquid you pour for yourself. You can use short, wide glasses for water and tall, thin glasses or alcoholic/sugary drinks.
We have all done it, mindlessly eating is incredibly common. For many of us it’s a form of comfort or relieving boredom. However, there can be unfortunate consequences to eating mindlessly. For instance, weight gain, low energy and in severe cases diabetes or obesity.
Quitting mindless eating can be tricky but eating slower, smaller plates and preparing snacks ahead of time are efficient ways to kick the habit. It is important to remember that it isn’t going to happen over night. But, in the long run, you will improve your overall health and maybe even lose some weight.